Brian Shaw spent four years with the Los Angeles Lakers as a player and seven years with the organization as an assistant. When former head coach Phil Jackson announced that he was retiring after last season, many considered Shaw to be the frontrunner for his job. A lot has transpired between Jackson's decision to retire and the present, including a fallout between the Lakers and Shaw and Shaw's eventual move to the Indiana Pacers as an assistant coach.
Shaw finally talked about his relationship with the Lakers with Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated. What Shaw had to say may perplex and worry Lakers fans about the character of Jim Buss.
The younger Buss- son of Jerry Buss- doesn't seem too fond of Jackson and the coaching staff that he assembled. Shaw recounts the advise that Jackson gave him prior to an interview with the organization:
"Phil let me know going into the interview [with the Lakers] for me to almost disassociate myself from him, that anything that I said about him or the triangle system would hurt me because of his lack of relationship with Jimmy Buss," Shaw said. "So when I did interview, that was the point that I tried to make about the fact that I had played for Phil only my last four years, and that I played for all of these other coaches."
Shaw also commented on the mindset of Jim Buss:
"It was more from Jimmy Buss just doubting some of the decisions he made in terms of how he was handling and running the team and coaching the team on the sidelines, and sitting down instead of getting up. People look at coaches and want them to pace up and down the sidelines and bark instructions to the guys. That's not Phil's demeanor. That was viewed as a negative in my estimation - but it won him five championships with the Lakers and six with the Bulls, and that was his coaching style when he won, so why was that not acceptable now?"
Buss has wiped the slate completely clean- between the departures of Jackson, Shaw and other coaching staff members- in a very public and negative way. He seems ready to build up the coaching faculty in the way that he perceives best, which is a bold and admirable pursuit. However, given the way that Shaw was treated by the Lakers- including the fact that he did not hear from the Lakers for three weeks before discovering that the team wanted to part ways- concern must rise for the tactics of Buss.
Regardless of how things worked out, both parties will move forward at this point. Shaw will serve as an assistant coach for the Pacers and continue searching for head coaching positions. The Lakers will retool and start over again after being swept out of the playoffs last year by the Dallas Mavericks. How successful Buss manages to be in his pursuit of bringing titles to L.A. will determine whether or not Lakers fans become truly worried about his role with the franchise.